ITV to merge new media with TV business

ITV will merge its online operations into its main TV business, with the combined assets to be headed by Peter Fincham, ITV director of TV, channels and online. The change comes as the group reported a 2.5% fall in advertising profits for the three months to September 30.

As part of the restructure, Jeff Henry, the managing director of ITV Consumer – the company’s existing digital, interactive and gaming businesses – will step down after he oversees the transition process.

The plan includes integrating ITV Local, Project Kangaroo and interactive and gaming services with its TV channels.

Ben McOwen Wilson, currently chief operating officer of ITV consumer, has been appointed director of online with responsibility for all ITV’s new media businesses. He will report to Fincham.

ITV executive chairman, Michael Grade, says: “Now is the time to integrate our online video sites editorially with our broadcast business as mass market channels in their own right and drive the advertising opportunity from that proven consumer demand.”

The company reported today (November 6) that its total revenue to the end of September declined by 1% year on year to £1.47bn.

This included a 5% decline in broadcasting revenue. The broadcaster says it anticipates a drop of 9% in TV ad revenues in the fourth quarter as the financial downturn hits advertiser budgets.

Grade says: “In tough economic conditions, operationally we continue to perform strongly and we expect to hold our share of UK television advertising year on year for the first time in over 25 years.”

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